We’re nearly a year into the pandemic. This year has made us question everything. Here’s what I am excited to add back and what I’ve decided I can live without.
We’re down to bare bones in the weekly schedule
In a lot of ways this pandemic has been like doing an elimination diet. We’ve been stripped of so many of the activities and routines that were assumed to be givens and we’re running on the bare minimum.
What will be the first thing you add back?
I know I’m not the only one who enjoyed the quiet at first.
At first, clearing my calendar of all appointments and obligations – even the social engagements – felt a little relieving.
I am someone who doesn’t like a lot scheduled on my calendar. I prefer impromptu events and decisions made in the moment based on how I’m feeling. (Especially as a mother.) I need space to unwind between activities. I think I am becoming more of an introvert as I age.
In the beginning, a totally clear calendar felt freeing.
This past year has taught us all so much about what is and isn’t important in our weekly routines.
As I sit here with all the restrictions still in place, I am eager to add back ALL THE THINGS.
But when I really sit down to think about it, what do I really want to add back?
What I Want To Add Back
1 / A weekly date night out
Date nights are sacred to me.
They are special not just because you’re eating in a restaurant and having someone else do the cooking and dishes (although that sweetens the pot immensely!) but it’s the uninterrupted, undivided conversation that I cherish the most.
At home it’s a challenge to have an uninterrupted adult conversation until after the kids are in bed, and by then we’re usually too tired to discuss anything with gusto.
I love that when dining out you’re not really in control of the timing of your dishes. You are forced to sit there and talk to each other (without phones or TV!) until the meal is complete.
It’s kind of like a guided meditation.
We could try to do this at home if we choose to eat super late (like we do sometimes when we make a special effort with Blue Apron meals!), but it’s just not as easy or as fun as dining in a restaurant.
I also can’t wait to support our local food scene again. I’ve been saving up in our budget and buying gift certificates in the meantime so we have a financial plan when our date nights resume.
Thomas about to eat a bushel of crabs a few years back!
2 / Travel
It’s probably the “you can’t” that makes me want it more, but the travel itch is super strong right now (obviously to all the warm places). I am glad we can at least drive to house-to-house rentals during this time. Once we feel comfortable with airplane travel, up up and away!
I haven’t been to Europe since college, and Thomas has never been. We thought about planning a trip a few years ago but then little Birchie came along! This year has made me realize how short life is and we can’t postpone all travel until the kids are older.
I’ve been researching some travel hacks and ways to use travel rewards cards for our family of four to go to some new places. TBD on how that all goes!
During the pandemic we have really gotten closer as a family, but a change of scenery is always a blessing.
3 / Indoor kid activities
The trampoline park, the Discovery Museum, KidZone, friends’ playrooms, the library.
At the beginning of the pandemic I was thinking that the timing wasn’t all that bad for us because we couldn’t really jet around the world or go All The Places with a two-year-old anyways.
But then this winter, it has hit me exceptionally hard that we literally have nowhere to go but outside in the cold.
When Mazen was two we had tons of activities, including just spending two hours at the gym on a Saturday morning while he bounced around with his toddler friends in the indoor play structure. Maybe after that we would take him to the warm indoor pool for a swim.
Our list of fun things to do at home is much, much shorter for both kids. I know many of you parents are feeling the same. I’d love to sign Mazen back up for indoor basketball or take him indoor roller skating, which was something we loved to do in the few years prior.
I would also really like to take the kids to the movies!
What I Can Continue to Live Without
1 / Pedicures
I haven’t gotten one since October of 2019!!!
While I do think a pedicure every now and then can do wonders for the feet, spending money on my toes is money I would rather put towards one of the above activities. I’m realizing how much I cherish experiences. I have a gel kit for home and no one looks at my feet anyways.
Now don’t get mad at me if I post an Instagram photo of painted toes a year from now, but it’s on the list of things I really haven’t missed. Both time and money saved.
2 / The Gym
Is that a shocker?! Thomas and I are a bit divided on this one.
You guys know how much I used to LOVE my group ex classes at the gym.
I do miss the community a lot! But almost a year without having to leave my house to workout, and I can’t say I’m missing it all that much with the set up we have at home now.
Thomas really misses his after-work routine, so he votes to add it back. But I am on the fence because my workouts at home are SO time efficient. I think I would only go to the gym on the weekends, and then is the cost really worth it??
I have a feeling when all is said and done, we will rejoin for the community alone. But it’s one of those things that I have questioned.
3 / Shopping in stores
Haven’t missed shopping one bit.
Admittedly, I have never been a big shopper. I think I’ve spent less this year on “stuff” than I ever have – clothes included.
I have a clearer picture of what my values are when it comes to spending money. Experiences >>>> stuff.
I’m still really enjoying:
- The expanded number of restaurants having a take-out option if dining in isn’t possible
- Using curbside services so I don’t have to get out of my car
- Telemed doctor visits (always hated going in the with germs everywhere anyway)
- Time saved by having virtual meetings with no travel time (like for school-related events)
- Not having to shake hands or touch people – just call me a porcupine!